Paradise is Abdulrazak Gurnah’s great novel. At twelve, Yusuf, the protagonist of this twentieth-century odyssey, is sold by his father in repayment of a debt. Paradise [Abdulrazak Gurnah] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A finalist for the Booker Prize, England’s highest honor for works of. Or perhaps paradise is the garden he has tended? This, Abdulrazak Gurnah’s fourth novel, is many-layered, violent, beautiful and strange.
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Preview — Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Paradise is at once the story of an African boy’s coming of age, a tragic love story, and a tale of the corruption of traditional Paradisd patterns by European colonialism. It presents a major African voice to American readers – a voice abdularzak prompted Peter Tinniswood to write in the London Times, reviewing Gurnah’s previous novel, “Mr. Gurnah is a very fine writer. I am cer Paradise is at once the story of an African boy’s coming of age, a tragic love story, and a tale of the corruption of traditional African patterns by European colonialism.
I am certain he will become a great one. At twelve, Yusuf, the protagonist of this twentieth-century odyssey, is sold by his father in repayment of a debt. From the simple life of rural Africa, Yusuf is thrown into the complexities of precolonial urban East Africa – a fascinating world in which Muslim black Africans, Christian missionaries, and Indians from the subcontinent coexist in a fragile, subtle social hierarchy.
Through the eyes of Yusuf, Gurnah depicts communities at war, trading safaris gone awry, and the universal trials of adolescence. Then, just as Yusuf begins to comprehend the choices required of him, he and everyone around him must adjust to the new reality of European colonialism. The result is a page-turning saga that covers the same territory as the novels of Isak Dinesen and William Boyd, but does so from a perspective never before available on that seldom-chronicled part of the world.
Paperbackpages. Abdulfazak, United Republic of. Man Booker Prize Nominee To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Paradiseplease sign up. What do you think is Gurnah’s best book? See 1 question about Paradise…. Lists with This Book.
Jun 18, Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: A curious and surprising novel, which I think can be easily misunderstood, if the reviews are anyhing to go by. It concerns Yusef, a boy who is taken by his “uncle” from his parents to pay a debt.
He works in his uncle’s shop with Khalil an older boy in a similar situation. As Yusef grows it is clear that he is very attractive to women and men. Uncle Aziz takes him on abdulrqzak of his trading expeditions through what is now Tanzania and we encounter jungle, strange and wonderful people; Yusef paraidse wi A curious and surprising novel, which I think can be easily misunderstood, if the reviews are anyhing to go by.
Uncle Aziz takes him on one of his trading expeditions through what is now Tanzania and we encounter jungle, strange and wonderful people; Yusef stays with a trading partner of Aziz for gurmah time, where his growing attractiveness continues to be a problem. He then goes on a journey with Aziz and his trading caravan and has further adventures.
They return to the uncle’s home after some time and Yusef’s beauty continues to be a problem. There is a, on the surface, puzzling end. Yusef is a narrator who is a little apart and things happen to him in an oddly detached way. The Europeans are very much a background threat until the end; an ominous absence. There was a richness and depth to the story and there are parallels to another story.
Even with my limited knowledge of the Koran, there were obvious similarities with the story of The Prophet. However this is all about corruption; the worm in the bud, the rotting fruit. Yusef seems so innocent and acted upon, but there is something at his core that he sees that no one around him does. The end is completely baffling if you do not see it. Enjoyable read which asked more questions than I initially thought it would.
DNF I rarely do this, but I have to face facts: I’m not going to finish this book. Maybe I could have another day, another time, a different place and mood, but considering I was reading this in April for the Around the World in 12 Books ChallengeI’ve run out of time and must admit defeat.
Out of pages I read to page Shortlisted for the Booker Prize now the Man Paraxise Prizethis story about a abdulraazk called Yusuf who is sold into the service of a successful merchant to pay his fathe DNF I rarely do this, but I have to face facts: Shortlisted for the Booker Prize now the Man Booker Prizethis story about a boy called Yusuf who is sold into the service of a successful merchant to pay his father’s debts when he is 12, has much to recommend it and I don’t in the slightest want to put anyone else off reading it.
Set during a time of European expansion in Africa – sometime before WWII, judging by the descriptions of the German’s silver cross flag after the war, Africa was divided up more clearly by the Europeans but before it, places like Tanzania saw several different colonisers – I picture them mapping their way through the land, deciding which bits they want based on the natural resources available – this place gurnwh wasn’t quite Tanzania yet is on the cusp of losing its pre-colonial identity.
Through Yusuf’s innocent, uneducated eyes we get glimpses and snippets of the presence of Germans, Belgiums and Brits, though most of the gurnnah the locals don’t even know – or care – what country they’re from. Interestingly enough, though, the Indians seem to have largely “joined the other side”, so to speak, and are practically native, with their own insights into colonialism.
The gjrnah of cultures is delicate, subtle and quite beautifully rendered, and entirely from the perspective of the Africans at least up to where I read in the days before the Europeans brought their own war to African soil. Take this snippet of conversation between Kalasinga, a Shiekh Indian who lives almost like a local and is accepted by themand Hussein, a shop keeper who lives in a village halfway up abudlrazak mountain: Even in South Africa, it is only the gold and the diamonds that make it worth paradis killing all the people there and taking the land.
What is there here They’ll argue and squabble, steal this and that, maybe fight one petty war after another, and when they become tired they’ll go home. In the mountain country north of here they’ve driven off even the fiercest peoples and taken their land. They chased them away as if they were children, without any difficulty, gurnab buried some of their leaders alive.
Don’t you know that? The only ones they allowed to stay were those they made into servants. A skirmish or two with their weapons and gufnah matter of possession is settled. Does that sound as if they’ve abduldazak here for a visit?
I tell you they’re determined.
They want the whole world. Abdulrazai Yusuf journeys into the interior with the merchant, Aziz, and a large retinue of porters and guards, conversation and descriptions of landscapes become more and more about, well, paradise.
Not having finished it, I don’t have a complete picture of the novel and where it’s going, thematically, but I wanted to at least share with you what I gleaned from the half that I did read. It’s also about religion – namely Islam, seeing as the people converted to it long before abdulrwzak Europeans arrived – and paradise as a garden is the highest level of heaven in that religion.
I can’t even say if this is presented in an overly romantic or nostalgic way – it didn’t seem so, but I’d need to read the whole thing. As I said, I don’t want to put anyone else off reading this.
Where I struggled was with the prose. It’s technically, or grammatically, an easy story to read, but my mind constantly wandered and the way the story’s written, I found it very hard to visualise as I read, making it even harder for me to concentrate and focus on the story.
You know how sometimes you read a story that you loved and you say something xbdulrazak, it drew me in or I got lost in the story or even the more dull, I couldn’t put it down.
Those stories stay with us for a long time, and the magic of the prose lingers on in our heads – as do the images. This was the opposite of that, for me. I felt immensely distant from the actual story, by not the words per se but the structure of the sentences. It occurred to me at some point that gurnab could very well be an African style of storytelling, which I struggled with because I’m so used to a European, or western style of storytelling.
I’m not even sure that sharing a quote would help get this across, as there was no particular passage that alienated me and it all reads perfectly well.
PARADISE by Abdulrazak Gurnah | Kirkus Reviews
Maybe that’s the problem: I’m sure a linguist would have a theory or two. Ugh I hate not finishing books! Paradise is the story of an adolescent boy, Yusuf, in early 20th century Tanzania. And that’s the plot in its entirety. Unfortunately, the book is written in a plodding style and Yusuf is a non-entity, without personality or goals to keep the reader’s interest. I suspect that does Tanzania a disservice, however, as no country could possibly be as boring as Yusuf.
There is some story here, albeit a plodding one, and there are sparks of character among the abdulrazal cast, particularly the merchants. However, this book completely failed to entertain me, and I found little to appreciate in the writing.
For the rest of us, not much to see here. Mar 11, Lisa Faye rated it liked it. I really enjoyed listening to a story told while Tanzania was just experiencing the first bit of colonization and even better to hear it from someone from a lower caste.
The plot if pretty much non-existent, but there are some interesting characters in the book that carry you along on the various stories. May 31, Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it. The Germans are moving in parradise building railroads. A young man from the interior is sold into bondage by his father to his uncle in payment of a debt. Poverty at home is such that the boy looks forward to a bone in his soup, so moving to the coastal city may be an improvement.
The uncle owns a store in a coastal city and is a trader in the days of year-long pack-animal ca A historical novel set around WWI in East Africa, modern-day Kenya and Tanzania, then the area around Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The uncle owns a store in a coastal city and is a trader in the days of year-long pack-animal caravans into abdulrazsk heart of Africa the lakes around where modern-day Congo and Uganda meet.
The story switches from the rural interior to the cosmopolitan urban coastal world.